Fishing Behind Bars

Fishing Behind Bars

River levels on Pool 9 have been dropping like a tungsten sinker for the past several days, a full .7 ‘ faster than the USACE flow chart predicted over just the past 24 hours.

Fish move quickly on a quick drop like that, pushing out of cloistered backwaters into running sloughs–which really are running–and beyond, out to areas just off the main channel.

There are 77 wingdams and closing dams on pool 9. A dozen–maybe 15–are fish magnets once River stage is below 623’ @ Genoa. Presentation is key in consistently hooking up when conditions are ‘just about perfect’ on one of these rocky structures. Most of these are on Lakemaster chips in good electronics—easy to find. But there is a world of difference between fishing a wingdam and CATCHING fish on a wingdam.

With only about 15 wingdam options at average summer pool on an average summer day there is a good chance at least one boat will be camped where you want to fish. When somebody is camped on a string of rocks, River courtesy dictates moving on. Unfortunately, some knobs just don’t get it–or don’t care. THIS is the primary reason my special Saturday guide rate is $1000/4 hrs.

Fortunately, there are quite a few juicy rock piles which aren’t on the charts, plus other options driven by low River levels–like the sharply breaking, trailing edges of sandbars.

Conditions beyond the channel now and going forward are similar to those found on the lower Wisconsin River. Anchoring up at a precise location on a current seam can result in crazy good action in less than 5 fow–with , 2′ of water just a rod length away.

Conventional wisdom says walleyes & SMB won’t be in < 5 fow at high noon on a sunny day–but they ARE if you know what to look for, how to navigate there safely–one how to fish once anchored up at the gateway to a true honey hole.

Yesterday clients boated about 15 ‘eyes under these nebulous conditions. We watched as folks from two boats had to get out and push trying to get there. Not fun! Especially if you don’t have the means and know-how to get free and on your way. There will be an article in the next issue of Big River magazine covering this topic.

The River is ALWAYS changing. Fish are ALWAYS adapting to that change. Running aground is inevitable–even when you’re out there almost every day.

But sometimes just two big steps from a keel-plant pickle a gold mine awaits. Stay safe out there!

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